THE death of two villagers, who were digging a well at Okatope in the Ohangwena Region when the wall of the well collapsed on them, trapping them underground, could have been avoided had they followed the advice they were given by the Ohangwena constituency office.
This was the finding of an investigation team of the Ohangwena Regional council.
In a statement released this afternoon the Regional Council said that the office of the Chief Regional Officer tasked a team of three officials to find out what really transpired at Okatope village where it was alleged that the digging of a well was necessitated by the unavailability of water in the area, what is not the case according to the findings of the investigation team.
According to the findings, a villager – Fillipus Shaduka – asked permission from the traditional authority to dig a private well in his mahangu field, about 50 metres from his traditional homestead, ecplaining that he needed water for the construction of his house and other domestic use.
He then recruited four people from surrounding villages to do the job.
The regional government’s investigation team’s findings regarding water availability in village found that there are four water points constructed by the Government within the radius of 2km from Shaduka’s house. Two of the water points have cattle troughs even though only one is in use while the other was closed due to outstanding payment.
The regional government’s report indicates that there was no real need for a well because the nearest public water point is located within a radius of about 900 metres from Shaduka’s house.
However, the investigators admited that the water pressure is “a bit slow” since the beginning of this month which resulted in long queue at the water points
Additionally, the report noted that the well diggers were allegedly advised by officials at the constituency office not to go ahead with the idea of digging a well because the soil in the area is not suitable for wells.
The report recommend an urgent backfill of the pit as it poses danger to humans, especial children, and livestock.
The report discourages the digging of traditional wells, recommending instead that villagers apply
for private offtakes.
Meanwhile the deceased were identified as 29-year-old Junias Kashima Hauwanga from Ohalushu and Jacob Hangula (37).